Attractions & Amenities
Millions of tourists flock to our nation's capital each year to view the numerous monuments, museums, and attractions that Washington, DC has to offer. We're ideally located in the center of it all and are proud to partner with a number of organizations to host exhibits and educational displays throughout the year. We also offer a variety of amazing works of art and free programming and activities.
Whether you're visiting or just passing through, make sure to check our calendar of events or stop by and discover all the things-to-do at DC's most dynamic building. Schedule a free tour for your group today!
From hero-sized sculptures and historical pieces to paintings and exhibits, explore all of the art and attractions at our building.
BAS RELIEF OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN
In honor of Ronald Reagan’s 98th birthday (February 6, 2009), a pair of “heroic size” bronze medallions was installed in the Atrium of the building by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Weighing approximately 1,650 pounds and measuring 72’’ in diameter, each medallion was carved from Indiana limestone and topped with bronze. One medallion features a bronze bas-relief of President Reagan and the second medallion contains a bronze-lettered quotation by President Reagan: “There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.”
BAS RELIEF OF PRESIDENT WOODROW WILSON
Located at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the congressionally-authorized memorial bas relief of former President Woodrow Wilson (by artist Leonard Baskin) overlooks the Woodrow Wilson Plaza.
Created by artist Martin Puryear, this 40 foot hammer-formed bronze sculpture sits on Woodrow Wilson Plaza, just west of the plaza’s 13th Street axis. The height of Bearing Witness draws the viewer from Pennsylvania Avenue through a sequence of spaces into the plaza. The surrounding buildings’ arches are reflected in the work’s curved top.
On permanent display at the building, this large section of the Berlin Wall was donated by the citizens of Berlin and the employees of Daimler-Benz in recognition of President Ronald Reagan’s leadership which contributed to German reunification. This segment is from an inner-city section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, where on June 12, 1987, President Reagan issued his challenge: “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” A symbol of the East-West division and conflict for 28 years, the wall that divided the city of Berlin crumbled. Located at the Woodrow Wilson Plaza entrance, the Wall segment stands over nine feet high, three feet wide and weighs nearly three tons.
Embassy of Japan Friendship Takes Flight Art Installation
The cherry blossom trees in Washington, DC are a beautiful symbol of the ever-growing friendship between Japan and the U.S. In celebration of this enduring bond and as tribute to Japan’s original gift of the trees in 1912, the Embassy of Japan invited the local DMV community to take part in #FriendshipTakesFlight, an art installation created by the partnership of our two nations.
The Embassy of Japan hosted interactive origami-folding events, bringing people together to learn the art of origami. Built from a small square sheet of paper and a few complex and thoughtful folds, participants were able to create beautiful origami cranes as illustrated in this tutorial.
By engaging in paper-folding sessions held across several events in the DC area, individuals were able to contribute their very own creation to a collaborative, living sculpture. This dynamic installation now hangs as a symbol of the evolution of friendship between Japan and the U.S.
EPA HEADQUARTERS EXHIBIT
Learn about the history of environmental protection in America at the latest EPA Headquarters Exhibit, “The Story of the Environmental Protection Agency: Protecting Public Health and the Environment.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency protects public health and the environment by safeguarding the air, water, and land. This exhibit provides an informative timeline of events leading up to the establishment of the EPA and all of its accomplishments since the 1970s. It is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the mezzanine level (near the Berlin Wall Plaza entrance), and is free of charge. Adults are required to show a photo ID to gain access.
FEDERAL TRIANGLE FLOWERS
Created by artist Stephen Robin, Federal Triangle Flowers are comprised of two parts – a single stem rose and a lily. The cast-aluminum flowers are located between historic Ariel Rios Building and the Reagan building, installed on limestone pedestals on either side of the plaza’s circular opening. Serving as a transition between the older buildings of Federal Triangle and our more contemporary building, each flower is approximately 10 feet high, 14 feet long and seven feet wide.
NATIONAL CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Discover a new world of dreams at National Children’s Museum, now open in downtown DC! Combining science center content with a children’s museum experience, our hands-on space inspires young innovators under 12 to explore science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (or STEAM) through engaging exhibits and programs. Advanced tickets are required.
For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
OSCAR STRAUS MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN
The Oscar Straus Memorial Fountain, dedicated in 1947 as a tribute to the diplomat and Secretary of Commerce and Labor, has been restored and returned to its original location at the 14th Street entrance of the building.
The memorial is comprised of a low, three-tiered fountain and two bronze sculptures to the right and left of the fountain each set on granite pedestals. The fountain is flanked on one side by a reclining female figure, representing Justice, dressed in classical robes with her hands held in prayer. On the other side is a partially draped male figure, depicting Reason, with a child next to him who holds a purse, key and hammer, symbolizing capital and labor. The two figures represent the opportunity and religious freedom that Oscar Straus found in the United States and celebrates what he returned in service to his adopted country.
PAINTINGS OF REAGAN BUILDING
A gift from the Embassy of Latvia, the painting by Latvian artists Aleksejs Naumovs and Kristaps Zarins is now on permanent display on the Ground Level by the 14th Street entrance.
The painting is of the 14th Street façade of the building. It was created with both artists sharing one canvas, each illustrating the building from his own perspective, creating a vibrant composition that highlights the brilliant Indiana limestone exterior and the dynamic activity of the surroundings.
Party Animals, sponsored by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH), is considered to be DC’s largest public art project. Artists were chosen by the DCCAH and painted donkey and elephant sculptures representing the two main political parties. Once displayed throughout the city, these 200 near-life size works of art were then auctioned off with proceeds benefitting the Greater Washington Girls and Boys Clubs as well as the DCCAH. Party animals, one donkey and elephant sculpture permanently reside on display in the food court at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.
The largest neon work in North America, this neon and glass sculpture was created by Artist Keith Sonnier in close collaboration with the building’s architect, James Ingo Freed. The work is integrated into the Atrium’s two metal curvilinear curtain walls. Monumental in scale the piece stands at 49 feet high by 30 feet wide and consists of glass plates and neon tubes in the primary colors: red, blue and yellow. The neon tubes incorporate Venetian tinted glass as the material creates a more saturated and superior form of colored light. The sculpture plays on the subtle interchange of light reflected in the glass-covered Atrium, shifting throughout the day and evening with variations in light conditions and the movement of people.
In partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, through the Art in Bloom Program, the Sakura+Seasons is located in Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. It was painted by Tracie Griffith Tso, an award winning artist based in Alexandria, Va, who specialized in Chinese spontaneous flower-bird painting.
Painted with the traditional brush painting of ink known as, Japanese sumi-e, this sculpture’s incorporation of natural subjects and the disciplined brushstrokes of its basic flora depicts and is representative of all four seasons. The bamboo represents summer and resilience; chrysanthemum represents autumn and prosperity. The orchid represents spring and noble bravery; and a blossom for winter symbolic for beauty, optimism, and the transience of life.
WOODROW WILSON PRESIDENTIAL MEMORIAL EXHIBIT
Located in the southeast corner of our building, the Woodrow Wilson Center is the official memorial to our nation’s 28th president. A “living memorial,” the Center is a gathering place for some of the best and brightest scholars and experts from around the world. While serving as a place for concourse, it is also home to the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorial Exhibit, housing photographs, memorabilia and other historical information. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Located on the Ground Level of the building, no appointment is needed and admission is free.
Capital Arts Collective
Every first and third Wednesday from May to October at 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, RRBITC welcomes homegrown artisans to Woodrow Wilson Plaza. With plenty of seating and eateries, it’s the perfect place for art enthusiasts of all ages to grab lunch, browse and shop from the best creators in the DMV area.
Capital Arts Collective aims to celebrate and support the local art scene. Locals and passersby shop and explore a curated selection of items by the areas most talented creatives, including everything from jewelry, paintings, candles, custom designed items, home goods, and more.
Capital Book Fest
Downtown DC’s outdoor, pop-up bookstore returns to Wilson Plaza. Shop thousands of gently used books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl all on sale for $6 or less. Books provided by Carpe Librum, a local bookstore benefitting nonprofit Turning the Page.
CAPITAL HARVEST ON THE PLAZA
Our weekly farmer’s market from spring through fall, CHoP features plenty of farm-fresh produce, prepared foods and artisanal novelties. Be sure to stop by our information booth and stock up on recipes and tips for maintaining a healthy and socially responsible lifestyle. Open Wednesdays from spring through fall, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the corner of 13th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. For more information and a list of market vendors, please click here.
LIVE! CONCERT SERIES ON THE PLAZA
A free summertime concert series, Live! Concert Series on the Plaza features an array of musical performances from all genres including bluegrass folk, reggae, country, pop rock and more. With plenty of outdoor seating, concert goers can pick up lunch at one of the outdoor eateries or from one of the many food court vendors and enjoy the show.
Launched in 2000, the Live! series supports one of our building’s missions to establish a pedestrian link between the National Mall and the business district north of Pennsylvania Avenue, creating an open, active and inviting setting for the community.